keep it together

I like sweaters with boat necks and sleeves a little too long. On Monday I wore a sweater whose sleeves just reached my wrist, barely, and it ruined me for the day; I tapped away at the keyboard with frequent pauses to yank the offending cuffs down over my naked wristbones and resented every second of it.

Monday’s sweater had made another egregious misstep – it was one of those that acted like a twinset but was really one piece. I’d forgotten the reason why I’d stashed it in the back of my closet until I was wearing it, and by the end of the day I’d sworn off it again.

Tuesday was the CTS. Wednesday was the favorite sweater, which I stole from Ginny. It meets the requirements – boat neck, sleeves too long, soft and stretchy and black. I wore it with the Bad Idea Pants and kept my hands tucked into the sleeves almost all day. Professional? No. Comforting? Yes.

Along those lines, today I am passing off a red fleece pullover from the Gap as work-wear, following that fashion rule from college that says that you can dress up any shirt you want to as long as you wear it with black pants. And so I did. And it’s working out okay so far.

In my senior year of college I began to run short on money, so much so that I began selling everything I could. At textbook buyback time I began to haul stacks of paperback literature to the bookstore, hoping against hope that I could pick up a few bucks for them. I’d saved them all through school while culling out the big textbooks I’d never use again, and like that I relinquished them all for a few bucks. My Brontes, Austens, Woolfs – gone. Kafka and Camus. Dostoevsky. Rilke. Sartre. Waugh. As a student who relied heavily on visual cues for memory, I watched much of my learning get stacked in a pile behind the counter. I sold CDs. I sold paperbacks I’d bought just to read, not for class. I sold the friggin’ Elements of Style. Sometimes I paid $14 or more for a book and got fifty cents back. But that was okay. Fifty cents was a dryer cycle, which with a stolen dryer sheet and a wet washcloth could make my clothes last another week if necessary. If I could have I would have sold looseleaf paper by the sheet outside my dorm.

But now I miss those books. Luckily I work at a college and get a discount in the bookstore. It’s not a good bookstore for general reading but I go over there sometimes and browse the textbook sections for history, literature, communication and come back with some good things. I’m rebuilding a collection.

By the way, if you’re the kind of person who says things like “Thomas and myself will be at the meeting,” or “Contact myself or Susan for more information,” please stop doing it. It’s grammatically incorrect and it might make people think you’re pompous and a dick. If you want to say, “I just totally busted myself in the face with a rock,” that’s okay, though.

Otherwise: “Thomas and I will be at the meeting.” “Contact me or Susan for more information.”

I’m just sayin’.

6 Replies to “keep it together”

  1. I love my copy of “The Elements of Style;” I actually keep it at work.

    AND, re: the Gap fleece move, I did something similar, on a Monday of all days. I wore an olive Patagonia fleece with black pants. I'm not sure it worked out that well for me, but I'll likely try it again.

  2. i rue the days i walked into the university bookstore and sold my beloved paperbacks by the bookbag. inevitibly, i now get into epic arguments where my only defense for an obscure argument lays in the pages of a college text i no longer have. she: “what do you mean 'sex is a manifestation of the male somethingorother'?” me: “no really. some guy in a book i read back in college made a very convincing argument.” she: “what book?” me: “um. er. you have nice tits.”

    i'll never sell a book again. promise made to self.

  3. one of the books i replaced this week was the elements of style; it now has a treasured place in my office bag. i should just buy another one for home.

  4. I don't think books should be traded in. I mean, not great books. They should be kept.

    I believe that getting rid of books opens the door right up to white slavery and selling babies.


  5. Maybe the people that are saying things like “Thomas and myself…” should go try to find your used copy of Elements of Style.

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